“Television has really affected all of us much more than we realize.”
—Levin (Good Morning America, 1991)

Taking the premise of true "reality TV" to its absolute extreme, Levin's Sliver concerns a tall, narrow 'sliver' apartment building (such as this unrelated example) whose every room has been bugged to transmit a constant live video feed – unbeknownst to its residents.

Levin again foresaw a nascent trend in popular culture – that the intense public appetite for then-emergent "reality TV" might lead to a demand for something akin to "total reality" in the media. And indeed, 24-hour 'news' channels and social media accounts traffic in 'reality'-based, often division-fostering content.

When asked in 1991 by legendary interviewer Larry King how he came up with Sliver's premise, Levin answered: “I thought — where is television going to go — when we get beyond “A Current Affair,” and “Hard Copy,” and... Larry King? We're going to go to total reality.”

In regard to Stephen King's observation that “[Sliver's] narrative is as stripped-down and efficient as an automatic weapon.” Levin commented:

  • Levin set Sliver in his own real-life Carnegie Hill neighborhood of Manhattan – incorporating many real-life, still-visitable local fixtures by name (Feldman's Housewares, The Corner Bookstore, Murphy's Market, etc.)
  • Levin's working title for the novel was "1300 Madison" – an actual address in his neighborhood. (Chosen purely for its sinister numbering – and for no other reason.)

(Above) Joan Lunden interviews Ira Levin on "Good Morning America" (1991)

(Above) Jacket photo (Credit: Mark Homan)

(Above) Best. Jacket. Ever. (Estonian Edition)

Click here to read an excerpt from "Sliver"